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What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Women with dry eye syndrome

Due to modern Lifestyle changes there has been a significant increase in the number of people suffering from dry eye syndrome.

Dry eye syndrome is a common disorder of the tear film due to tear deficiency or excessive evaporation, which causes damage to the ocular surface. Symptoms include: Feelings of dryness, grittiness, soreness, tired eyes which gets worse throughout the day, sensitivity to light/blurred vision and watery eyes.

Initially it was thought a lack of water production in the tears was responsible for dry eyes which are why tear substitutes were prescribed. However, clinical evidence shows drops only relieve the symptoms temporarily. This is mainly due to the drops draining away as normal tears would, meaning constant instillation of the drops throughout the day.

Current thinking is that most dry eyes are caused by a poor tear quality rather than a lack of production of the watery part of the tears.

With modern lifestyles people tend to be concentrating on devices such as computers, mobile phones and tablets for prolonged periods of time and as such are blinking a lot less.

Blinking is essential as it distributes the tears over the surface of the eye lubricating and providing nutrients. Lack of lubrication causes dry eye symptoms and increases friction between the lids and the ocular surface making symptoms worse.

Blinking also aids in the release of the oily layer of the tears, the oily layer of the tears prevents evaporation, so reduced blinking leads to reduction of the oily layer, increased evaporation and dry eyes.

Other dry eye causes Age As you age you produce less tears, eyelids change and are more prone to certain conditions all of which can cause dry eyes.

Contact Lenses 25% of contact lens wearers are affected by dry eye, this is because of friction between the lens and the lids and the moisture required within the lens

Environmental Factors Tears can evaporate more rapidly in certain environments, such as air-conditioning/central heating/high altitude/Smokey/wind/extreme temperatures

Hormonal Changes Using the conceptive pill/pregnancy/menopause or anything that changes your hormone levels can have an impact on tear production.

Medication Certain medications have side effects, which can cause you to have dry eye. These medicines include Antihistamines, Antidepressants, Beta-Blockers and Diuretics

Medical Conditions medical conditions, such as Allergic conjunctivitis, Entropian, Ectropian, Bell’s palsy, Blepharitis, Contact dermatitis, HIV, Lupus, Previous eye trauma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Sjorgens syndrome Here at Eyelink Opticians we will assess your dry eyes using a number of examination techniques and then treat/advise accordingly.

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